Monday, May 5, 2014

What sells, what doesn’t at Barry’s Bonanza

With May now in full swing, I’m proud to say that Barry’s Bonanza not only made rent for April, but also actually had enough sales to warrant a check for $204 from the local antique mall for our first full month.  It’s a far cry from actually being a “bonanza,” but it’s a start, and proof that we can make this successful if we keep up the hard work.

Well, it’s not actually hard work, since both Ella and I already are buying and selling for our online ventures.  However, it is time-consuming and thought provoking.  You get out of it what you put into it, we were told, so we have been pouring resources and, more importantly, time into getting it established.

A full month also gives me an opportunity to determine what’s working for us, and what’s not.  DVDs continue to be a big seller, and certain collectible action figures/toys also are moving quite well.  I’m disappointed the books aren’t selling; glassware remains hit and miss; and our Easter display was a bust.  Ella had purchased various items, including a collection of plush, which just didn’t hop out of the booth.

Also, our “May the 4th be with you” Star Wars campaign was a complete and utter failure with not a unit sold.  Obviously, these weren’t the droids that the customers were looking for. 

I knew that the booth would be a work in progress. Thankfully, we have collected a backlog of items to rotate in and out until we find that magical niche that will truly make our booth if not a bonanza, at least a semi-profitable venture.

My source for most of the Skywalker stuff texted me on Saturday seeking to sell another load of collectible toys, including more Star Wars, some Star Trek, and various other cool toy items, including a vintage Ronald McDonald plush still in bag.  Sensing that he actually had more to sell than what he was offering, I asked to come to his house and make an offer on his entire collection.  He declined, saying this load was the last that he had to sell.  So, we negotiated a price, $150, and I met him at Kmart to make the transaction.   As we completed the deal, he said that all he had left were some X-Men toys, and that he was not going to part with them. 

By the time I got home, though, he was texting me with pictures of his X-men collection, asking me to make an offer on it.  I declined, thinking the seller was trying to get more money out of me by piece parting his collection.  Later, he confirmed my suspicion, by texting me pictures of more Star Wars toys that he happened to find in his garage, despite saying he had no more just hours earlier.

He tried to appeal to my greed by saying that he would list them on Craigslist if I didn’t purchase them, and that I was missing a good deal.  I still declined, figuring I would hear back from him real soon if the toys didn’t sell on Craigslist, and that I probably could make an even better deal.  If not, c’est la vie.

Sales were plentiful this past weekend, with multiple churches and a plethora of neighborhood sales competing for our thrifting dollar.  As usual, we bought way too much.  I wanted to list a bunch on Sunday, but the dogs high stepping over the grass in the backyard convinced me that yard work took priority. 

On Sunday afternoon, we took Duc to see the new Spider-Man movie.  He’s not much into superheroes, but jumped at the chance to sit in the dark theater, eat a bucket of popcorn, and drink a large soft drink, complete with free refills. 

This week, we have to refresh the booth, and somehow I need to squeeze in some time to list all our treasures that we keep collecting.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (yeah, had to get in one last Star Wars reference), I was trying to impress some young lady by bragging about how busy I was.  I realize now, No. 1, that I was an idiot, and, No. 2, I had no idea what it meant to be really busy.

Have a week, everyone, productive or otherwise.


  1. How do you manage to do ebay, Amazon, maintain a booth and still work at a full time job? I'm amazed!

    1. Simple. I never stop working. Packing books before work (4:30 to 5:30 a.m.), scouting on my lunch hour, packing books/listing during the evening. On weekends, Saturday is spent scouting; we usually go to an auction on Saturday night. Sunday means yard work, and packing the weekend sales. I do try to take Friday nights off, though, and if I am lucky, I can squeeze in a nap on Saturday afternoon. Monday starts the process all over again.

  2. I was wondering how the booth was doing. So glad that you posted an update and are sharing what is and isn't working for you. Congrats on your first successful month!

  3. "Dogs high stepping over the grass" made me laugh.

  4. Good luck finding the "magical niche" for your booth. I'm still looking for mine!